Friday, February 27

training wheels

after xrays, bone scans and mri's, the dr has given me the thumbs up to start running again! yeah! i started with a 30 min run, then a 45, and joyfully joined the wednesday night trail running crew for a slow 60 minutes this week. it's tough to make yourself take it this easy, but the last thing i want to do is get reinjured and sit out longer. the ankles definitely do not feel 100%, but I'm hoping my plan to ease into time/distance will pay off.

i've been so excited to get back into it, that i've signed up for a few events this week and my year is starting to take shape. a few upcoming events...  more details to come!


Tuesday, November 25

winter training

from frazz:

always remember your headlamp.
maybe santa will bring new bike lights....


Monday, October 6

broken things...

#1. my road bike. yup, i've joined the ranks of Those That Drive Their Cars Into Their Garages With Their Bikes Still on Top. dumbdumbdumb. that distinct sound of a hollow carbon fiber fork snapping in two is unmistakeable. It sits in 2 pieces right now. fingers crossed it is not a total loss. Anyone want to hook me up with a 52cm loaner for a little bit? (I guess this means i won't be buying that new cyclocross bike i was hoping for!)

#2. heart. ok, in this case it isn't really broken, but rather, problematic. i've had breathing issues for awhile, coupled with some annoying palpitations on occasion (sidelined me at the Blankets Duathlon, Raccoon SERC Race, Tsali Challenge, Leadville...). Asthma? Who knows... my pulmonary dr a few weeks ago said that my chest xray was normal and any asthma i has was slight. (but here's a bunch of meds to try and see if symptoms are alleviated. uh, yeah doc. whatever.) so on to the next dr - my cardiologist, dr steve austin (awesome guy!). he found a few inconsistencies in one test and referred me to a cardiac electrophysiologist, who i saw today. dr david wendt (super awesome guy!) told me that i have type 1 second degree heart blockages. WTF! it's not arterial blockage as may first come to mind, but rather interruption in electrical conduction. thankfully it is a benign condition and i don't need to do anything about it. in fact, he wasn't really surprised that i had this either - said it is not uncommon in high performing athletes.

so, what next? of course i could just cut back the intensity of my training and racing, since that is when most of the problems arise. but the doc said that didn't seem to fit my lifestyle. (WOW, a dr that understands me!!), so it's on to a few more tests. we'll do what we can locally, then make the decision on whether or not to seek treatment with someone that specializes in working with athletes. (he recommended either CO Springs, or the Cooper Institute in TX.) so, we'll see.... but it's nice to know that i'm not going to keel over dead. (i must say i totally freaked out when i was first told what was up. thanks to all my friends for being there for me!)


Tuesday, July 22

in the red

looks like another evening of planned training is going down the drain... i certainly don't mind getting wet (it's quite refreshing in this godawful heat we're having), but dodging lightning can be counter-productive.
Severe thunderstorms capable of producing quarter size hail and 60 mph winds are blowing through Southeast Tennessee and a severe thunderstorm watch is in affect until 8 p.m., the National Weather Service said.


Saturday, June 21

a different kind of pain

right about now, i should be on top of cherohala, or perhaps suffering on my way to the top.  115 miles, 9000' of gain. we had worried about the rain; as i look at the weather radar, it looks it be absolutely a picture perfect day. 

right?  NOT.

as soon as my head hit the pillow last night, the throbbing began.  a few hours later, having perhaps nodded off for a few minutes, i finally get up after tossing & turning. 2:50am. the culprit? a tooth. (somewhere between # 12 & 15). i google various home remedies, finally setting on gargling a shot of whisky, which acts as a topical anesthetic. it worked for a little while, but i decided not to keep this up as i'd be drunk pretty quick. jeramie finally gives me my wake up call at 4:30am. i break the bad news: there is no way i can go do cherohala today.

i finally fell asleep about an hour later (probably due to pure exhaustion) for a bit. and now i'm up, dealing with the pain again. one of scv's sponsors (and avid mtn biker- he was out doing trail maintenance when i called him) is calling me in some pain meds to hopefully get me through the weekend and avoid an emergency after-hours dental visit (read that as: super mega expensive, esp when you don't have dental insurance. ah, the joys of being self-employed...)

hopefully the pain will subside soon and i can actually get something done today. but depending on how it affects me, i may or may not be able to get a ride in. which sucks, as this was an important day for leadville training. 

oh, and the worst part??  
blue skies outside. (damnit weatherman!!)

here are some pics from last year's challenge. i'm sorry i won't be able to add to the collection with this year's shots. (unless anyone wants to join me on a future ride......)


Wednesday, April 30


I'm not much of a comics person, but I dig Frazz. The writer/illustrator, Jef Mallett, is a triathlete, so sometimes athletic-y stuff gets worked into the storyline... like today. This one seems to hit close to home (ok, not the sausage part, the schedule part!)


Wednesday, April 23

a tad injured...

i only lasted about 15 min on tonight's run. i was thinking the pain in my knee would be the limiting factor, but it was the handlebar-to-the-groin one that made me stop. the impact of running was just too much i guess. there isn't much visible bruising, but it feels like some hematomas have developed.  i guess my epsom baths aren't going to help much; should move to ice packs (but it's really not fun to ice there).  any other suggestions are welcome :)


Monday, March 24

sunday training days

i haven't kept up with posting things lately but that doesn't mean i'm sitting back being lazy - on top of lots of training, work has been super busy too. i'll write more about this past weekend's duathlon soon, but here's a quick visual recap of the previous two weekends...

shannon, jeramie and i hit the cherohala skyway for some road bike action. after fueling up with momma's pancake breakfast, we drove over to tellico plains and parked near the ranger station at the base of the skyway. our plan was to ride up, over, and down to snowbird for a snack, then ride back up, over, and down. jeramie's modest estimate was 5-5.5hrs. well once we got to the top we realized it was going to be closer to 6.5-7hrs... daylight would have been tight and the skyway isn't a place to be caught at dusk. plus i don't think we'd have brought enough clothing for the temps at the top an hour or two later. (and not sure any of us had the legs for 10,000'+ feet of gain today!)

totals: 4.5hrs, 57 miles, 6625' elevation gain (started around 680', topped out at 5390' at Santeelah Gap)

the sunday before (that would be the weekend of the CPZ race i did not do), a group of us headed over to the ocoee for a tour of the big frog 65 race route. sunday's weather was great - clear skies, but still chilly; a good bit of snow still on the ground. didn't take too many pics - i had to work hard to keep up with the seasoned riders i was with. that is until my front brakes totally failed. a piston in the lever fell out; no trailside fix for that. luckily we were only 5 or 6 miles from the end, so i took it easy/safe. (thankfully i noticed this problem before a big downhill!)

totals: 4hrs20min, 38 miles, about 4000' elevation gain

shannon, me, micah, jeramie, jamie

my ghetto feet warmers
(forgot my booties so i was at the mercy of jeramie's leftovers. 
micah called them "grover feet". hey, they did the trick...)

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Sunday, February 3

running update

the crew at Edward's Point

still playing catchup with some pics. these are from last weekend's run at signal mtn. i felt good and ran somewhere around 15 miles (2h44min). i'm definitely making progress, although starting to feel a little apprehensive with the upcoming race. i've resigned myself to the fact that the Challenge will once again not be a possibility and at this point, i'm hoping i can whip out the 5hrs necessary for me to do the marathon. ('course i would like to beat last year's time). we'll see. my plan will be to continue to increase my weekly mileage smartly. (but i bombed that with no long run this weekend. dumb me. there was a velo vixen training ride i joined saturday, with intentions of running after, but some errands and dealing with AT&T (#!%!?*!) just wore me down. i did have a nice run today - in the rain - but much shorter than it should have been. i did try to work in every nearby hill though, which in this neighborhood is pretty significant).

Suck Creek

Joey at Mushroom Rock

Sergio on the Swinging Bridge

the Tennessee River from Edward's Point
(looking towards Chattanooga)

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Monday, January 28

gotta love my crazy friends

an email received this afternoon:

We are planning the inaugural Sick Bird for Feb 2nd. Start time is 9am at the commons area on Lookout Mtn.
The Sick Bird consists of:
Riding off lookout and over to Raccoon Mtn visitor center. Run the 11 mile loop (trails).
Ride back up Lookout Mtn and finish by running Big Daddy 12.5 miles.
If you're interested this is a self supported deal.

i might create the injured bird variation (run only 1 of the loops - not quite up to that much volume. close though!) IF my road bike arrives this week. (supposedly it is being boxed up and shipped out tomorrow... JESSE, ARE YOU READING THIS?!? :) if it doesn't arrive, maybe i'll join folks at raccoon for a run, then ride my mtn bike. and i could graciously become a support vehicle as well...

btw, there are a few other crazy events like this. the official Big Daddy event involves road biking, trail running, and Spam. ick.


Wednesday, January 16

wed night run, take 1...

warnings of a winter weather mix this evening of course had me quite excited. this coming on a wed night, when our weekly trail run has moved to signal mtn, made me extra excited, as i was certain i'd see some white stuff. i left work early to scoot up the mtn. little bits of ice danced off my windshield - so fine you could hardly even see it. once on top of the mtn, i actually had to use my wiper blades a bit. only jim & david were in the parking lot... jim still huddled in his car, wearing shorts. he quickly told me he was bagging the run; david was undecided. we chatted a few minutes, the ice/sleet/snow mix quickly accumulating on my car. we decided that while we wanted to run in the winter wonderland, it was probably safer to head back down the mtn. then sol arrived... ready to run. dan arrived; ready to immediately leave (something about his trainer set up in front of his fireplace seemed more enticing i guess). david decided to run; i followed dan down, hoping the drive would be safe. it was, although i slid a bit in the parking lot. nice time to remember those 2 new tires i need for my car. i'm such a procrastinator.

wed night run, take 2....
after a quick stop at the grocery store (another thing i tend to procrastinate), i went home and immediately set out on a run - hey, i was already dressed for it...  it ended up being an awesome run. the snow was drifting down, coating everything white and bringing a peacefulness about. snowflakes caught on my eyelashes, then would slide into my eyes with a cold tickle. for some reason i usually don't like running from my house, but tonight was on. i cut across the north chatt ridge, went across veterans to downtown, and hit walnut bridge after a short city loop. walnut bridge was a bit tricky - it was pretty slick. frozen wood?? next was a warm run up tremont, then back across the ridge to home. a bit more sleet was coming down at this point, as there was a faint sound - sorta like rice crispies - filling my ears. says it's just over 6 miles, which makes for a great route to remember. my back deck had a fluffy coating of snow when i returned; my footsteps were completely covered up by the time i got out of the shower! boot camp tomorrow morning should be interesting :)

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Sunday, January 13

back at it... and bruises to prove it

It was a beautiful weekend - blue skies & temps climbing into the mid-50s. While I had to work a lot, I was able to squeeze in rides both days at Raccoon Mtn. It was like pulling teeth to find people to ride with, but kman joined me Sat & farmer on Sun. My body & lungs are feeling much better than last week. The rides were leisurely and we took time to work through a few obstacles and practice some skills. Some things I did successfully; others, not so much. I did a flying superman dive after a log on Saturday (the clearing of leaves I created in the process was still there today). No big injuries, although my foot cramped up when I hit (which was fun dealing with when I was still clipped in). I did twist my ankle a bit, so I cancelled today's run to play it safe. Today was pretty good until I didn't make it up some rocks, sliding out and knocking the hell out of my left knee twice, in the same spot (actually have a nice cut there now). Nothing is worse than rock on bone. Took a bit of time to shake that off. Then going thru the pines (tight & twisty), my shoulder caught a tree and nearly wacked me off the bike. 

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Friday, January 11

Rock/Creek Race Team

This year, I'll be joining the Rock/Creek Race Team  at events all over the southeast. While the team primarily focuses on endurance trail running, I think they are pretty cool with my multisport adventures. The team is a great group of very talented athletes - I hope some of their speed wears off on me :)   We'll be working closely with the Boonies on a new trail running series that will be kicking off soon - more details on the series to come.

Big thanks to Rock/Creek Outfitters for their sponsorship and support, as well as Patagonia, who will be supplying great gear for us to race in. 


Monday, January 7

highs and lows of the weekend

i finally got back outside! the dr gave me some antibiotics on thurs and i was feeling a million times better by saturday. i got a short trail run in at lookout (45 min - didn't want to push it on day #1 back!). on sunday i headed up to raccoon for a lap. it was perhaps a bit more than i should have done, (i was wiped out at the end!) but the temps were warm, the company great, and i've missed my bike a lot (haven't been on since thanksgiving). we even went on some new stuff that was a blast!

ice on lookout mtn from last week's hard freeze

on new years day, meredith emerson went hiking with her dog at vogel state park in blairsville, ga... a place i've trained and raced in many times. she never came home. the story was all over the news and it really hit home, even if i didn't know her. tonight her body was found in Dawson Forest - the site of the two Midnight Rush Adventure Races Kevin Fordham and I put on a few years back. we knew that area like the back of our hand. to think of what happened there gives me the chills.

my run on saturday was solo. i must say i looked over my shoulder a few times and left the ipod at home. granted, i was on well-traveled trails, but that just isn't enough sometimes. there has been much talk on the trailblazers message board about all the solo training we end up doing, whether it be on foot or bike. it's always nice training with a group, but with work schedules, family commitments, etc, inevitably we go about it alone. shoot, even small groups aren't foolproof. last fall i was with star & lisa on a 4+ hr ride on the forest service roads south of tanasi when 3 guys on motorcycles went by. we kept moving forward until we saw them stopped up the mtn a bit; we promptly turned around and hauled ass out of there. luckily they didn't follow. 

this brings up the question (posed on TBARC) of personal safety when training in wilderness areas. i was surprised to hear how many folks have handguns they carry. but would it do any good in a pack? in your saddle bag? i don't know what the answer is, but i think a lot of us will be searching for one. it won't stop me from going out... and i don't think that i have to be with a male at all times (as has been suggested by some people). but i will definitely be more aware, try to make smart decisions, and let people know where i am + for how long.

my prayers and condolences go out to meredith's family & friends.

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Tuesday, December 18

still sidelined

The end of week #3 is almost here and I'm not sure if there is any improvement yet. I've been laying off any exercises involving my leg and it is slowly driving me nuts... esp with the nice weather (the trail run sunday had snow!) I got a massage yesterday to try and work things out a bit, which was painfully good as always, followed by an epsom bath. This morning however that whole quadrant of my leg was sore to the touch. Granted, sometime this happens naturally after one of Mr. Alley's sessions, but I guess I'm just hypersensitive to anything in that area right now. I scooted home from work just now for alternate sessions of ice & heat (can't exactly treat that area in a corporate office, although they think I'm a bit odd as it is....)  Everyone I talk to has different suggestions of therapy and I have no idea what is most right. (ice - reduces the inflammation vs heat, promoting stimulation/rebuilding in the area).  Anyways, I am really hoping I can bike up at Raccoon on Saturday before I jet to the flatlands of central FL on Sunday for Christmas week.


Monday, December 3

on the injured reserve list

last thursday was our normal speed workout at the GPS track. it was a bit colder out, but i didn't think much of it. we warmed up around coolidge park, then did 2 laps of cat & mouse. next we planned a hawk and dove lap before the real workout began. this exercise has a staggered start, with the goal of everyone finishing at the same time. the slowest person goes first, then you have to judge when to go based on your own speed. i let the dove get about 100-150m and started. 2 strides in i felt an instant tightening in my groin. oooh, not good. i kept running, but could tell it wasn't quite right. it felt worse as the night went on (yeah, silly me kept on running, although not at a normal speed night tempo). for 2 days i had some pain, but that subsided and has left me with a stiffness there that isn't quite right. sigh.

i tried to take it easy this weekend.... i was definitely out of the Boonie's FatAss 50k, which was really a perfect distance for me in prep for Mt Mitchell. i was hoping to be able to do the cyclocross race, figuring it was shorter and maybe doable... but realized i just wouldn't be able to swing my leg over my saddle time and time again. oh well. instead i played spectator to that race (pics to come) and went to the post-fatass party at Krandyland.  (we watched the dvd they  made during their Rim to Rim to Rim run of the Grand Canyon in October - I'm so doing that next year!)

sunday i was being greedy and since i thought i was feeling better, i did a trail run with the vixens (possum creek gorge). i took it way easy though, running about half the distance i normally would have in the time allotted. i stuck with some trail newbies and we had a great time. that afternoon i did a swim clinic with the Krystal Chiks - hoping to pick up some tips from local coach Dale Tillman. my favorite thing she said.... saying we needed to be in the water 3x/week. i'm thinking wow, if i make it in once a month i'm doing good! yeah, not my fav thing... the water at Baylor was too cold.

so now here i am, 1 week later and extremely restless. no running, no cycling. no weight lifting (due to 2 aggravated shoulder injuries from yoga and mtn bike crashes). i am able to do 2 things: swim (yes, i actually went to the Y last night for 30 painfully boring minutes), and Vantaggio's Boot Camp. WOW. more on this later. we meet at 6am and i can't be late or we'll be punished with Motivational Exercises. luckily i haven't been late yet, but the lack of sleep is starting to wear on me.  off to set the multitude of alarms....


Wednesday, October 3


Post-OME recovery has gone well and transitioned into a tapering for the StumpJump, happening this weekend. I'm ready enough to do it; not sure if I'm ready enough to meet the goal I have in mind. I just hope the rain stays away as I can't imagine the rock garden if it were slick! ('course, if I survived the ladders & rocks of Grandfather Mtn, I can deal with this fine!)

For tonight's group trail run, we split up and ran portions of the Mullen's Cove loop and flagged it for the race. I also cleaned up the trail a bit to hopefully avoid all the tripping I did when I was out here last Sunday - it was not a pretty run!

Chris just posted some more pics from OME:
Definitely on the calendar for next year!


Thursday, September 6

is it called recovering or tapering?

last week wore me out. to top off 4 days of hard running, i met some atlanta friends at raccoon on sunday for nearly 4 hours of mountain biking (albeit leisurely done). then with monday being a holiday, i just had to get outside and enjoy some great weather, so we do the blue hole run at montlake. it's one of my favorites and not that bad - just 10 miles... but sadly, my legs wanted no part of it. tis ok though; it was a great day and better to be out there than sitting at home (where i could have been catching up on work!)

i've been taking it a bit easy this week - which gives me no excuse for not posting a review of my first omnium experience (sorry mallie - it's coming!) meanwhile, rebecca hurt her knee in an ultimate tourny last weekend, so my morning workout partner is temporarily on the DL. so i've been hitting snooze a bit more :)

this weekend is a race i've wanted to focus on, but haven't quite done so: the Tsali Challenge. Last year I was 8th in the women's solo division (and 9th the year before). so i really want to kick some butt... with monica pregnant, and shelley not coming this year, that should be 2 spots open ahead of me.... right?! carol and i are hoping to defend our female team championship as well if we can nail down a last minute replacement for our runner ann who is injured. regardless, a weekend in north carolina will be fab!


Tuesday, July 24


this past weekend i joined fellow vixens lisa & star (both headed to the Leadville 100) and colleen & her husband franklin for a big ride that i've been wanting to do for awhile: the cohutta death march.

it pretty much lived up to everything i've heard: painful. brutal. epic. the death march is a ride that circumnavigates the cohutta wilderness management area in north georgia. the ride is on forest service roads, with tons of elevation. since it was a loop, the gain/loss equals out, but it certainly did feel like we went uphill a heck of a lot more! about 2hrs into the ride we ran across jeramie, who was out doing a diff loop. (i just talked with him and he said he saw a nice big bear hanging out on the road where we had just come from. we didn't get to see any wildlife though.)

the pace was solid and the leadville gals put a hurtin on me. they've been training so much; their fitness level right now is quite impressive! i'm definitely not there, but managed to hang on, although i was looking at spandex-clad butts most of the day. we really lucked out with the weather. the morning started off around a cool 62 and didn't get much above 80. the clouds increased as the day went on, but the rain stayed away from us. about halfway through, we used franklin's filter to refill our camelbaks from a creek (at least this one could be classified as running water, unlike the puddle i used at the UOG earlier this summer). we kept well fueled and hydrated, but my legs still burned constantly. my pack was also hitting my lower side back funny, which was quite annoying. with 2 hrs left, we came across some houses with people outside that kindly let us use a well to refill our paks once again. i really wonder what they think when they see us ride up... i'm sure we looked/smelled grande...

not much more time to go and things have been pretty uneventful. no crashes, no bears, no bad weather, no freaky motorcycle guys... then on a nice descent (and i have to say, i'm getting much better at them, with the new bike & hydraulic brakes...), where i had a decent amount of speed, i hit a wasp of sorts. and of course it stings the crap out of me - the inside of my lower lip to be exact. yeah, NOT fun. i've only been stung by yellow jackets a few times, and this was much bigger and too black to be one of those. not knowing if i was allergic to this thing, i hightailed it down. when i met up with everyong at the bottom, i had tears running down my face, was trying desperately not to hyperventilate, and my lip was throbbing so much i couldn't talk (like when you leave the dentist with half your face numb). i took a benadryl to help with the swelling... it did the trick. but it also sucked every last bit of energy i had. there was about 45min of riding left and it was sooo hard. my eyelids were heavy, legs not wanting to move like before. it was like the sleepmonsters coming after 20hrs of adventure racing. not fun!!

we made it back to our cars finally and hit a cracker barrel for dinner, consuming massive amounts of food. (i had all but passed out in the back of the car before, then had to fight off a food coma!)

i'm still pretty sore and tonight's tuesday night ride was not an easy one. but, it was a great workout, and as i said, very humbling.

a few stats:
80 miles
approx 8000' of elevation gain
8hrs 16min ride time
(total time about 1 hour more)

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Monday, July 2

the $11 swim

Sunday, a group of us met at Coolidge Park for a nice swim around McClelland Island. I survived even though I haven't been swimming that much lately. A few places got shallow and I really didn't care to see the bottom - a bit icky. Had one fat catfish swim under me too. I didn't realize how strong the current was until we were swimming downstream and were cruising easily. When we got back to our cars, we all had tickets. boooooo.... the north shore area put up a bunch of parking meters earlier this year. all the meters and street parking is free on Sundays; however, the lot we were in was not. oops. so much for a cheap training day.

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Sunday, June 3

steppin up the training

so with the Montana race around the corner (in exactly 2 months we'll be done with it!), i really need to log a lot of miles and elevation. this past weekend, i joined star & lisa (both training for the Leadville 100 mtn bike race) for two days of biking. on saturday we headed back to the ocoee for a 5hr ride (about 4 hrs on forest service roads and 1 hr on singletrack). then on sunday when our legs were nice & tired, we hit the road for a 5hr ride from red bank to graysville (79 miles). while i took today off, i decided to register for the Cherohala Challenge, a 115-mile road ride in the Smoky Mountains in 2 weeks.

Here's what they say about it:
THE Challenge: 115-Miles
The Dragon: US129 with its famous 318 curves in 11 miles.
Cherohala Skyway: a road with the highest average elevation of any road its length east of the Mississippi.

These legendry ribbons of pavement are joined by scenic, rolling, country roads in Tennessee and North Carolina and together create an unforgettable epic ride.

The 115-mile loop begins/ends in Tellico Plains at an elevation of 900 feet. The route twists through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests and climbs to 5,300 feet with over 9,000 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy some long descents after reaching the top, but before you coast into town, you will contend with "the sawteeth", over a dozen 0.5-1 mile rollers.

And check out this profile - ouch!!

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Tuesday, April 24

Finally, back on track...

I had a great weekend of training! The last few months have been a bit weird... sure, I've been "training" and racing, but my intensity has been lacking. This was proven recently when my VO2 max tests at ATS came back with dismal numbers. (ok, not dismal.. I topped out at 55, which is still pretty damn good, but not even comparable to the 62 I had last time). The graphs that the machine/program spit out did not hide anything... Coach Tony explained the numbers (aerobic & lactate threshold, recovery heart rate, etc) and why he thought things had dropped: lack of intensity in my workouts had caused my body to reclaim the extra blood vessels it had created in my legs, thereby reducing how much oxygen my body was utilizing. It does make sense - all winter I ran long, collecting basemiles for my ultra adventures. There was no speed work, no tempo work, no intervals. Gosh, I sound like a slacker....

Anyways, my challenge lately has been to add this intensity into my weekly training schedule. With so many group trainings, it's difficult sometimes to make them hard. I guess I need to take some of the socialness out of the workouts? (without making it seem like I'm ignoring my friends). Hmm... it will be an effort in progress... The speedwork on Thursdays will be a good addition. Then if I can incorporate a ride like I did this past weekend, improvements will come!

Saturday, I met Dreama out in Soddy for a road ride. 4 SCV guys came out as well. Oh boy, the pace just went up! All I knew about this ride was to expect about 60 miles, and about 3.5/4 hours. Things started off ok.... a bit cool in the morning, but knowing it would heat up, opted for short sleeves + arm warmers. We wound all through Soddy, Sale Creek & Graysville, before starting our first climb up Brayton Mountain. Up on top, we were amazed at how long we rode on flat/rolling terrain - yet we were on top of a mountain! Then came our descent on Pitts Gap Road. I have one word - YIKES! I don't like descents to begin with, but this has got to be the worst I've had to suffer through. The views of the valley on the west side were amazing, which did nothing to calm my fears. I even stopped once because my hands hurt from braking so much. (I reallly gotta improve on this soon. somehow. please send me tips!) Once I caught up to everyone (who kindly waited for me), we battled some wind as we headed south towards our next ascent - something very special apparently: Henson Gap Road. It had some killer switchbacks where you had to stand and really muscle over them. Something easier said than done when you're already tired! Once on top, my water bottles were nearly drained. I rationed the last few ounces, but still had about 20 minutes of nothing. This section was pretty exposed to both wind and sun (oops, really should have put more sunscreen on since the arm warmers were now off!). Finally we hit a mini mart and fueled up on ice cold drinks. After a decent on Hotwater Road, we were done. Yeah!!

It was a hard workout and I chased them the whole time... but it was nice to do that and not just go out for a casual ride. I really appreciated everyone helping me out and (seemingly) not get frustrated by having a slower person along for the ride. It's rides like this that will help me get better.

Check out the map here... this is my first attempt at creating a map on Google.. pretty cool stuff! (although not quite as handy and detailed as those rockin' Garmin 305s.)

Sunday was no rest! The running crew hit the Cumberland Trail for a point-to-point run of the Possum Creek Gorge Segment - the absolute hardest 10 miles of trail to run I've ever been on. And yes, on tired legs, they seemed nearly impossible at times. It took us about 2hrs 50min, including a break at the waterfall where most of the guys actually jumped in (they said it was like ice!) Dreama and I had stashed our bikes in Joey's car at the end and worked out the lactic acid with an "easy" 15 mile ride back to our cars... easy, except for the killer, long, exposed climb up 111. A brutal way to end the weekend!

Here are some more pictures...

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Thursday, April 19

speed kills

speed workouts, that is. i joined the running crew for their weekly speed workout, something i tried a few months back (1/2 mile bridge repeats), but didn't stick with consistently. (not sure why i can't get it together on thursday evenings). tonight after a warmup around coolidge park, we headed over to the track at GPS (girls prep school) for some speed games. joey paired us up in teams, then we each ran 400m laps, alternating until we hit 4 miles. i ran each of my 8 laps hard, and since i'm not used to going all out, boy did they hurt. my fastest split was 1:28 and my slowest 1:46. i definitely fell off after my first 3 laps, and hovered in the low to mid 40s for the remaining laps. what is / will be interesting is seeing improvements in the future. (if i can stick with it!)

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Thursday, January 25

a peek at Mtn Mist...

It looks like it's going to be a gorgeous race day:
6am: 33°F
9am: 42°F
12pm: 52°F
3pm: 54°F
6pm: 48°F
The race starts at 8am CST, partly cloudy, with wind chills only amounting to a few degrees. Chance of rain 20%. It's going to warm up nicely and almost makes me want to wear shorts, but I think I might just deal with tights - as long as I have a singlet on, I can regulate my temps pretty well. We'll see - I'll probably change 3 times that morning :) I think I'm ready - I have lots of different goals, but first and foremost is to not get hurt and finish. Then finish around 6.5 hrs... We'll see. It's a tougher course that StumpJump, but I'm also much more prepared. Fingers crossed it's another great day on my feet! I'm not going to take my camera on the course (heck, it is a race afterall!) so I'll just have to link to others posted later.

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Sunday, January 21

Cumberland Trail: Rock Creek Segment

today was our last weekend run before Mountain Mist. we tackled a portion of the Rock Creek segment of the Cumberland Trail system. (this portion is 7.2 miles long; we ran about 50 minutes out and back). temps dropped 7 degrees during the run (finished at 41degrees), the wind was blowing, and the light rain almost icy. this looks to be a great segment and i look forward to tackling it when dry - the rocks were a bit treacherous!

more pics here

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Saturday, January 20

mtn biking at sewanee

here are a few pics from a mtn biking trip up to the Sewanee Perimeter Trails, located on the University of the South campus. great singletrack (will be nice to come back and see the improvement in my riding - lots of tough stuff here!) very scenic area!

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Sunday, January 14

the frosty challenge

dreama came up with this fun day of training to end 2006 with. we had a good size crew for this inaugural event, plus gorgeous, unseasonably warm temps. we started off on road bikes from the red bank bi lo and rode about 20 miles up to soddy, where we dropped our bikes at the hotwater road trailhead for the cumberland trail. we put on our shoes for a there-and-back run (10.2 total miles) on a great section of trails, taking a break on a nice rock overlook. back at transition, a few people began celebrating the new year early, with some beer & jager shots. finally, back on our bikes for the ride back to the start. a few pics are below; more are located here.

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Saturday, January 13


2 weeks until the big run... so time to taper. the main crew was doing 12 today; since mtn mist isn't necessarily my goal race (or rather event, as i'm not exactly racing these runs yet), i decided to join michelle, k-man & kelly for a bit extra, bringing our mileage to around 19. some days you have it, some days you don't. once we finished the main loop (pott point, up in prentice cooper) and the hefty crew of 12 or so runners ended their run, my legs just did not join me for the last 3. after lunch at mojo burrito, i showered and tried to take a nap, but sometimes your legs just feel too much. and all i could do was lay there and feel them. restless. lactic acid just swirling around. lovely. so i've been sitting in Stone Cup "working", enjoying some good coffee (caffeine not taking effect though), a delish raspberry white chocolate scone (i deserve a treat after 4.5 hrs of running, right??), and watching an amazing sunset. wish i had the camera.

next weekend i think the plan is around 10-12 miles. i think this week will be relatively normal, except for the fact i have a buttload of work that needs to get accomplished (more late nights). Next week though i need to be super nice to my body. good food, long sleeps (ok, 8 hrs a night would make me quite happy. sad to say.) and then off to huntsville! what will be interesting is the recovery.... i will indulge in a massage & many epson baths.. need to get in 10 the next weekend i think. then ramp up for another week (although i'll be in colorado, so we'll see how the running goes in snow!), then a taper weekend of 10ish, then the big run: the Mt Mitchell (40-mile) Challenge. (oh, then my AR debut of the season the very next weekend - the YMCA Goldrush. Yikes!)

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Wednesday, January 10

procrastinating and possum creek gorge

the two only relate at this moment.. when i should be either working or going to bed, and instead i am "wasting" time looking at pics from recent trainings and thinking about how much i haven't posted on here lately. so here is a quick note:

last sunday was our last long run before our upcoming race. we did 27 miles on the Possum Creek Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail. this is a 13.5 mile segment that is absolutely gorgeous, even in the drizzling foggy rainy cool weather (which seems to be perfect training for "mountain mist"!) the approx 4000' of elevation gain should be good practice as well :)

i don't have the pics up yet, but here are a few. we had 3 big creek crossings (which meant 6 since it was there-and-back) - coooold water! the waterfall (coined "Immodium Falls" by creek boaters) was gorgeous with a deep pool that is calling our name for the summer swimming hole running series :) the last pic isn't a bad shot - it really was that foggy!

sergio & kevin



billy, sergio, dreama, trey

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